As RevGalBlogPals embarks on new and exciting adventures, we’re having a weekly blog carnival during the month of July. This week’s question asks “What does Galship mean to you?”
In short, it’s a somewhat whimsical way of describing what it’s like to be part of a group of faithful women, an alternative to the more familiar word “fellowship.” But the depth and breadth of friendship that came into my life because of RevGalBlogPals isn’t whimsical at all.
Ten years ago, I was a lonely small church pastor with three children at home, and although I loved them with all my heart, I found living my dream of finally being a pastor, while also fulfilling my deep commitment to be a good mom, to be challenging. I looked among my local colleagues and couldn’t find anyone else willing to admit what seemed so obvious to me, and I felt even more isolated. Then I discovered blogs. I started one, and I started reading other people’s blogs, and in the winter of 2004-2005, a group of friends began to coalesce.
When one of them, St. Casserole, was threatened by Hurricane Katrina, I realized I had a heart full of genuine love for someone I had never met, whose real name I did not know; when I learned from her blog about the aftermath of the storm, my heart began to burn with a desire to help. Being unconvinced of my usefulness, I held back until I read on her blog that the Gulf Coast needed preachers to provide respite for pastors there who were recovering and rebuilding. So I got on a plane and finally met the dear friend whose name by then I knew. Over the past eight years, she has been a source of wisdom and guidance and fun, too. When we talk on the phone, I know we start from many important foundations together, as Southern women with those kinds of stories, as moms, as animal lovers, and as women of faith who feel called to serve God.
The thing our galship connection gave me most was courage. I took a risk and got on a plane and went to the Gulf Coast, to be collected by a beloved friend I had never met, whose face I hoped I would recognize even though I had never seen so much as a photograph of her. She promised to wear a RevGalBlogPals t-shirt under her jacket, but as soon as I saw her beaming smile, I knew her.
We’ve had many opportunities to be together since then. I returned to the Gulf Coast four more times and preached in her church. When my life took a turn in unexpected directions, she sat in the place of my daddy in the eyes of my intended. When she came to our wedding, she put her own pearls around my daughter’s neck. We are friends and colleagues and sisters. I thank God for our friendship and all the other connections that could be mapped from those first days of blogging, a web of love and support and hilarity and faith that supports all the useful things I am able to do on behalf of Jesus Christ.